The modern parent is constantly inundated with digital ways to entertain their children. Many of these options are wonderful for both parents and children. Constant use of digital entertainment, however, can cause problems.
We live in a wonderful world! Children deserve to view their surroundings with an eye of wonder and curiosity. The following are four ways parents can help children kick their screens to the curb and spend more time outside and engaged with real life:
1. Brainstorm with your kids.
When kids embark on the project of reducing screen time, they can feel a loss of control. A good way to give a feeling of control back to them is to ask them what outdoor activities they would like to do. Make a list of activities that seem reasonable and fun, and start checking them off.
2. Make sure they have plenty to do.
Children are happiest in the outdoors when they have plenty to explore. Be sure to provide plenty for them to do. Babies and toddlers love to explore sand and water. Older children may be introduced to sports equipment (jump ropes, bikes, baseballs, and frisbees), or science equipment (magnifying glass or microscope). Make sure kids have plenty of outdoor gear and they’ll be excited about getting outside.
3. Hit the road.
Field trips are a great way for parents and children to enjoy the world together. A trip to the zoo, swimming pool, golf course or beach can provide inspiration to children and to parents too. Collect acorns and seashells, discover a new favorite plant or animal. If the weather is hot, stay cool and get inspired at an art or science museum.
4. Boredom is your friend!
Spending time with a bored child may be low on your list of priorities. But if you want your child to be creative, intelligent or innovative, make boredom your best friend. Allow your child to sit and stare, to think and dream. Humans have been bored for hundreds of years! Boredom and quiet time allows children to create stories, games, and art. A child will never know how to entertain himself if he is never allowed to be bored.
As a parent, ensuring that your child spends ample time engaging in the world can seem difficult. But enriching your children’s curiosity and making sure they’re plugged in to life (instead of their devices) is well worth the effort.